Billionaire Philanthropist Vows To Pay Off Morehouse College Grads’ Student Debt

Discussion in 'Career, Work, Finances and Education' started by OckyDub, May 19, 2019.

  1. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
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    Robert F. Smith is the richest black man in America

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    Morehouse College seniors got a surprise Sunday when billionaire investor Robert F. Smith announced during his commencement speech that he would pay off the student loan debt for the historically black college's graduating class.

    "On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we're going to put a little fuel in your bus," he told the newly minted graduates in Atlanta before saying his family was creating a grant to eliminate their student loans.

    The announcement was met with a standing ovation and chants of "MVP!"

    "Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward," he continued. "I want my class to look at these (alumni) -- these beautiful Morehouse brothers -- and let's make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward because we are enough to take care of our own community. We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American dream."

    The total amount covered for the 396 students is up to $40 million, said Morehouse President David A. Thomas. He called Smith's gesture "a liberation gift."

    "When you have to service debt, the choices about what you can go do in the world are constrained," he said. "(Smith's gift) gives them the liberty to follow their dreams, their passions."
    Students say they're overwhelmed with gratitude.

    Students couldn't believe their ears when Smith made the announcement, three graduates of the all-men's college told CNN.

    "We're looking at each other like, 'Is he being serious?' That's a lot of money," salutatorian Robert James, 21, said.

    Jonathan Epps, 22, said Sunday afternoon he still hadn't fully grasped the magnitude of the "tremendous blessing," which he called the kindest, most generous thing he'd ever witnessed.

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    "It'll sink in as the years go on. I know that for a fact," he said. "I still don't really have words. ... It makes a great day just that much better." Epps said he has about $35,000 in student loan debt that his parents in Pleasanton, California, had pledged to help him pay off. He couldn't wait to break the news to them, he said.

    A classmate, Elijah Nesly Dormeus, is the first of nine kids to graduate college. His mother made many sacrifices working minimum-wage jobs to provide for him and his eight siblings after Dormeus' father died when he was 5. In addition to the 22-year-old New Yorker's own $90,000 debt, he said his mother took out a loan to help get him through school. "All her serving, all her giving was not in vain," Dormeus said when asked what Smith's gift meant to his family.

    Smith has made many other charitable donations

    The students' benefactor also received an honorary degree Sunday, along with actor Angela Bassett and psychologist Edmund Gordon. The entrepreneur, founder of the investment firm Vista Equity Partners, is worth about $5 billion, according to Forbes, which reports he is the richest black person in America.

    In 2017, Smith signed the Giving Pledge, an effort spearheaded by billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to convince wealthy Americans to give away half of their fortunes.
    In signing the pledge, Smith said he would focus on causes that support equality for black Americans and the environment. His wife, model Hope Dworaczyk Smith, will focus on helping children, he wrote.
    "I will never forget that my path was paved by my parents, grandparents and generations of African-Americans whose names I will never know," Smith said. "Their struggles, their courage, and their progress allowed me to strive and achieve. My story would only be possible in America, and it is incumbent on all of us to pay this inheritance forward."

    The 56-year-old Smith was a chemical engineer for Goodyear and Kraft before attending business school. He worked for Goldman Sachs, specializing in technology investments, before starting Vista Equity in 2000.
    Vista Equity invests solely in software, data, and technology companies and boasts capital commitments of $46 billion, the company's website says.

    Smith has quite the generous streak. In 2016, Cornell University, one of his alma maters, renamed its chemical and biomolecular engineering school in honor of the Austin, Texas, investor after he committed to donating $50 million to the school. He's also donated millions to cancer research and the arts.
    His Fund II Foundation provides grants under five pillars: preserving the African-American experience, safeguarding human rights, conserving the environment, providing music education and sustaining "critical American values such as entrepreneurialism," the organization says.

    In 2017, Smith signed the Giving Pledge, an effort spearheaded by billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to convince wealthy Americans to give away half of their fortunes.

    In signing the pledge, Smith said he would focus on causes that support equality for black Americans and the environment. His wife, model Hope Dworaczyk Smith, will focus on helping children, he wrote.
    "I will never forget that my path was paved by my parents, grandparents and generations of African-Americans whose names I will never know," Smith said. "Their struggles, their courage, and their progress allowed me to strive and achieve. My story would only be possible in America, and it is incumbent on all of us to pay this inheritance forward."

    Robert F. Smith surprises Morehouse grads with promise to pay off student loans - CNN
     
  2. Juan-Carlos

    Juan-Carlos Opps are dealt with by a savage Thanos snap. HNY
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  3. mojoreece

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    @takeyourmeds91 Damn bro we came out the wrong year. :(

    But congrats to the 2019 class.
     
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  4. Dante

    Dante https://www.gofundme.com/qv7v5dw
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    Absolutely a GREAT giveback. It is ridiculously sad that many people have a college degree but have hella loan debt that most won't ever pay off.
     
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  5. Jai

    Jai I'm honing in on my inner freak.
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    Couldn't he have applied that money to..idk...communities in need or people who can't get in college. Aren't some of these folks kinda "privileged" already anyways?

    When I become a billionaire, I'm going to donate money to kids to start their own businesses and stuff. Unless they want to be a doctor.
     
  6. Winston Smith

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    His money, his choices. I try not to tell other people what they should do with their money.
     
    #6 Winston Smith, May 22, 2019
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  7. Jai

    Jai I'm honing in on my inner freak.
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    I know. When I get my money I'm donating it to some charities. I also want to do a few scholarships for unsung writers who come from low income families.
     
  8. BlackguyExecutive

    BlackguyExecutive Charge D'Affaires
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    This is the kind of liberation I am trying to do one day!
     
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